If you were hoping this week’s entry was going to be a font of philosophical pondering, turn back now. My love of Thomas Blake, the man of the yellow and orange, is not rational, ethical or even natural. It even makes my husband nervous. Sure, it’s pretty unlikely the actual Catman will ever spontaneously erupt from the comic page into three-dimensional life, but that slim cosmological chance already has my brain burning with possibility.
And with yesterday’s announcement that this hunk of a comic book character will be returning to the pages of DC Comics on December 3 (just a few days shy of my birthday. Coincidence?), there seems like no better time than now to share all the love I have for him.
If you don’t know his back story, buckle up, lean back, and feel the G’s. Catman is a minor Batman villain, created in 1963, who rose from obscurity to join the Secret Six, a misfit band of anti-heroes and mercenaries. A laughingstock before then, Catman has since become, under the pen of the mighty Gail Simone, a fierce Tarzan-like figure, highly intelligent (if not wise) and exhibiting great prowess in combat and hunting. He’s as primal a figure in mainstream comics as you can get.
Sure, he’s not Batman. He’s neither on the side of angels nor devils, not the big name at the marquee or the guy who gets the happy ending. But anytime he appears on the page, I’m there. Why, you ask? Let me tell you.
He’s frequently naked. Just getting that out of the way.
He probably can’t win against Batman, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.
He has a great bromance going with Deadshot.
He’s not afraid to look goofy. (Hee-hee “Maneaters.” Oh, Robin!)
He can carry a loincloth like nobody’s business.
He has some serious daddy issues.
Did I mention he’s frequently naked?
He used to be fat. Now he’s not. It gives me hope.
…and an animal lover.
He can be super scary when he wants to be.
Lest you think, fair reader, that I am unusually obsessed and singular in my adoration of the man with the little cat ears, I leave you with proof of my camaraderie among other Catman fans. If nothing else, let this be a lesson that every character has the potential to be someone’s favorite, and there’s potential in every character to be great, no matter how dumb he or she may seem at first. Or second. Or third.
And art from my own collection!
This article was originally written for and published online by the Idler Magazine, March 2013.